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Peeking into Microsoft's retail store (photos)

CNET takes a look around Microsoft's store in Orange County, Calif., to see for itself how Redmond is doing in its retail push.

Ina Fried
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1 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

Greetings from Redmond

The Microsoft retail store in Mission Viejo, Calif., as seen from outside the shop, is one of two the company opened earlier this fall. The other is in Scottsdale, Ariz. CNET recently took a look around Microsoft's store in Orange County, Calif., to see for itself how Redmond is doing in its retail push.
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2 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

We've got answers

Whereas Apple has its "genius bar," Microsoft has its answers desk. In both cases, customers can get answers to technical questions as well as have their devices repaired if needed.
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3 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

Endless software aisle

One of the unique features of the Microsoft Store is the ability to pick from hundreds of software titles beyond those stocked on store shelves. The on-demand software, including manual and packaging, can be created in just a few minutes.
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4 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

A never-ending supply of software

The on-demand software creation machine from Tribeka means that Microsoft can offer an unlimited supply of a particular software title--a potential boon for sales of popular new releases, particularly during the holiday shopping season.
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5 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

Checking out Windows 7

Joe Babakanian checks out a Windows 7 laptop at the Microsoft Store.
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6 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

A view from outside

The Microsoft retail store in Mission Viejo, as seen from outside the shop.
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7 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

Show me some skin

The Microsoft Store offers the option to "skin" a desktop, laptop, or Xbox with any number of covers, ranging from Disney themes to college and pro sports logos. Skins are created on-demand in the back of the store.
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8 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

Would you like Windows with that?

Microsoft's efforts to let mall-goers know of its presence extends to the food court, where it has ads pasted on the tables.
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9 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

The kids table

As at the Apple store, Microsoft has a special section for the younger set, complete with age-appropriate software and shorter tables.
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10 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

Hard to miss

Even if customers have never heard of the Microsoft Store before entering the Mission Viejo mall, it's hard to walk around without learning it is there.
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11 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

Windows and walls

The video wall is one of the most striking design features of the Microsoft Store, using dozens of flat-screen displays to show still images and full-motion videos.
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12 of 12 Ina Fried/CNET

Racing on a Zune HD

There are a number of Zune HDs on display, loaded with the new games, including Project Gotham Racing, shown here.

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